So, Little Red Riding Hood is tripping along through the forest on her way to her grandma’s house, enjoying the scenery and the birdies and bunnies who seem to follow her everywhere, red hooded cape unbuttoned, red hair flying, not a care in the world. She is carrying the basket of eggs she gathered in her barnyard this morning, eggs from heritage breed hens, happily scratching and foraging around the barnyard, and fed farm-produced naturally grown grains.  Eggs she carefully candled this morning –eggs occasionally have a defect, a form of blood clot in them.  Candling means holding each one up to a light in a box so she can see through the translucent shell and see if this defect is there.  It is not toxic or anything like that, but not very appetizing and these defective eggs are fed to the dog or the cat or the pigs or even back to the hens.

As she gets to grandma’s house she notices that the door is open a bit, and no lights on, she gets worried and rushes in shouting “Grandma, are you OK?” The door slams behind her, and the Big Bad Wolf behind the door gruffs “Your grandma is OK, but you are in big trouble!”  She looks again, and the Big Bad Wolf is a bit different, looks sort of like a government bureaucrat.  She asks “what have I done wrong?”

Big bad wolf says “You are illegally transporting eggs!” “But how can that be”, says LRRH, “Grandma usually comes for her eggs and she would never do anything illegal.  She isn’t feeling well, so I am bringing them to her.” The wolf gruffs “Oh, your grandma is OK, it is legal for the customer to pick up her eggs at the farm, but it is against the law for the farmer to bring the eggs to the customer.  I will have to write you a ticket!”

LRRH says “So, what would I have to do to be able to legally transport eggs?” Big bad wolf answers firstly; you need a government –approved Egg Grading Station.  Then he asks “How many hens do you have?” Red answers with “I really don’t know, do I have to include my bantam hens?  They are really hard to keep track of, must be a hundred or more if I include them, but my cousin in Alberta says I only need a quota from the Marketing board if I have over 500, so I am OK.”  “But this is Ontario”, from the bureaucrat/wolf, “I will have to write you up another ticket, you are only allowed one hundred hens without a quota.”

“So I will have to kill my banty’s, they are really just pets you know, about the size of a crow. Anyway we already have an egg grading station, I just set up my basin of water to wash off any spots beside my candling light and weigh scale on the kitchen table.”

“Well, no, your Egg Grading Station is OK, but it will have to be in a separate building, not in your house or barn.” “OK”, from Little Red Riding Hood, “We have a shed we don’t use; I will just move my stuff over there.”  The wolf replies “no, the building plans will have to be approved, and the building will require its own separate electrical service, heating plant, water supply approved by the board of health, and sewage disposal system.  You could probably build it for $60 000, depending how deep you have to drill the well.”

LRRH is getting visibly upset now, and asks “So I can’t just run an extension cord for one light bulb, I can’t wash the eggs with the water I drink every day, I can’t just flush the basinful of slightly soiled wash water down the toilet, I have to spend $60 000. What health or safety or environmental purpose can that possibly serve?”

The wolf is also losing it, and just gruffs “you don’t get to ask questions”.  But LRRH is a feisty chick, and she goes on “A few hens is a big help to anybody wanting to start a family-scale natural farm, but these rules makes it way too expensive, so this is all just to prevent new farmers getting started, nothing to do with the public good!”  The wolf growls “Now I am going to have to write a ticket for you obstructing a Provincial Officer just trying to do his duty. Stick out your arms for these handcuffs; we are going downtown; with three tickets you are going away for a while.”

Grandma stuck her head out the door as they were leaving, and said “Sorry, Red, I wish I could have warned you, but they said they would put me in jail if I did, and I am too old for that. I hope you get out soon!”

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  1. Fran Blair says:

    Funny – but sadly, true. Love the pokes you send out to those in positions of authority. Only wish they were close enough to feel it!

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